Thursday, September 22, 2011
Jake Long on Joe Thomas
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- Two of the NFL's best left tackles will share the field Sunday when the Miami Dolphins visit the Cleveland Browns.
Miami's Jake Long and Cleveland's Joe Thomas -- both multi-time Pro Bowlers -- often are compared to one another. Long said this week he has a lot of admiration and respect for Thomas.
"He's been good since day one in the NFL," Long said. "He just has a smooth pass pro. He's good with his hands, quick feet and a very good player."
The two were just one draft class apart. Thomas was drafted No. 3 overall to Cleveland in 2007. Miami took Long No. 1 overall in 2008. The pair have combined for seven Pro Bowls.
Opinions differ on who's better. The NFL Network recently surveyed hundreds of players who voted Long (No. 28) ahead of Thomas (No. 43). ESPN.com rated Thomas narrowly ahead of Long this past offseason.
"I don't read into all that stuff. I just work and try to be the best," Long said. "It's something I work for and I want to earn the respect. But I'm never satisfied. So, I always want to get better."
Thomas recently became the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman. He agreed to a seven-year, $84 million extension with Cleveland. Long, who is signed through 2013, also is due for a raise in the next year or two. But that wasn't on his mind with the Dolphins 0-2.
"Honestly, I don't care about that stuff right now," Long said. "I'm worried about the game and what this team has to do."